Recently, the Australian computer programmer, Julian Assange was denied bail by the UK court. Let’s take a look into his life and career along with why he was denied bail.
Crux of the Matter
Who Is He?
Born on July 3, 1971, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, Assange is an Australian computer programmer who founded the media organization WikiLeaks. He calls his practice “scientific journalism” i.e., providing primary source materials with a minimum of editorial commentary.
He has released thousands of internal or classified documents from an assortment of government and corporate entities through WikiLeaks. As a teenager, he infiltrated a number of secure systems, including those at NASA and the Pentagon, under the nickname “Mendax”.
- September 1991: He was discovered hacking into the Melbourne master terminal of Nortel, a Canadian multinational telecommunications corporation. Later charged with 31 counts of cybercrime – pleaded guilty to most of them.
- 1993: Assange gave technical advice to the Victoria Police Child Exploitation Unit that assisted in prosecutions.
- He was also involved in starting Suburbia Public Access Network, one of the first public Internet service providers in Australia.
- He began programming in 1994.
- In 1995 he co-authored the TCP port ‘Scanner Strobe’ which he patched to the open-source database PostgreSQL, the Usenet caching software NNTPCache in 1996.
- In 1997, he created Rubberhose, a deniable encryption system.
- In 2000, he created Surfraw, a command-line interface for web-based search engines.
- October 2006: Assange created WikiLeaks to serve as a clearinghouse for sensitive or classified documents.
- December 2006: The first post was a message from a Somali rebel leader encouraging the use of hired gunmen to assassinate government officials.
Why Is He On Trial?
- 2010: WikiLeaks posted almost half a million documents obtained from US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning (later called Chelsea Manning) mainly relating to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- November 2010: WikiLeaks began publishing an estimated 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables.
- Classified documents dated mostly from 2007 to 2010, but they included some dating back as far as 1966.
- Assange is facing a litany of charges in the US, including conspiracy to hack US government computers and breaching the Espionage Act.
- He has been imprisoned in the UK since April 2019.
- In January 2021 a UK judge refused US’ request to extradite him and deemed him at risk of suicide and self-harm.
Read about the details of his trial here: WikiLeaks Co-Founder Assange Facing Court Trial In UK
- The United States diplomatic cables leak, widely known as Cablegate, began on Sunday, 28 November 2010 when WikiLeaks began releasing classified cables that had been sent to the U.S. State Department by 274 of its consulates, embassies, and diplomatic missions around the world. Dated between December 1966 and February 2010, the cables contain diplomatic analysis from world leaders, and the diplomats’ assessment of host countries and their officials.
- A wiki is a hypertext publication collaboratively edited and managed by its own audience directly using a web browser. WikiLeaks was originally established with a “wiki” communal publication method, which was terminated by May 2010.
- The Fifth Estate is a 2013 biographical thriller film directed by Bill Condon, about the news-leaking website WikiLeaks. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as its editor-in-chief and founder Julian Assange, and Daniel Brühl as its former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg.